Simply put, connected speech is when a speaker puts words or sounds together in a sentence such as “gonna” (going to) or “wanna” (want to). Usually, this is not understood at all by the English learner!!
Have you ever heard something like “I’m gonna go ta tha store, do ya wanna come?” What does this mean??
When the native English speaker says things like this ^, it is usually just to make their speech easier and more efficient. In fact, the main goal of a native speaker is usually not to be correct, but to be efficient. So, when you are trying to speak perfectly, remember that even native speakers don’t always sound perfect! Elemental English discusses this topic here.
So, let me explain the sentence “I’m gonna go ta tha store, do ya wanna come?”
Correctly written, it is “I am going to the store, do you want to come?”
“Going to” changes to “gonna,” “to the” changes to “ta tha,” “you” changes to “ya,” and “want to” changes to wanna.” Of course, this is not correct English and should never be in writing… However, if you want to better understand native speakers, I would recommend practicing listening for these connected words.
Below is a great example of connected speech in a scene from the classic movie “Remember the Titans.” Watch the video and see if you can understand what they’re saying. If it is difficult, try reading the text below and notice the connected speech. Does it make sense this time? Great!
Bertier: Aight man. Listen, I’m Gerry, you’re Julius. Let’s just get some particulars and get this over with, alright?
Big Ju: Particulars? Man, no matter what I tell you, you ain’t never gonna know nothin about me.
Bertier: Hey- Listen, I ain’t running any more of these three-a- days, okay?
Big Ju: Well, what I’ve got to say, you really don’t wanna hear ‘cuz honesty ain’t too high upon your people’s priorities list, right?
Bertier: Honesty? You want honesty? Alright, honestly, I think you’re nothing. Nothing but a pure waste of God-given talent. You don’t listen to nobody, man! Not even Doc or Boone! Shiver push on the line everytime and you blow right past ‘em! Push ‘em, pull ‘em, do something! You run over everybody in this league, and everytime you do you leave one of your teammates hanging out to dry, me in particular!
Big Ju: Why should I give a hoot about you, huh? Or anybody else out there? You wanna talk about the ways you’re the captain?
Big Ju: Captains supposed to be the leader, right? Bertier: Right.
Big Ju: You got a job?
Bertier: I have a job.
Big Ju: You been doing your job?
Bertier: I’ve been doing my job.
Big Ju: Then why don’t you tell your white buddies to block for Rev better? ‘Cause they have not blocked for him worth a blood nickel, and you know it! Nobody plays. Yourself included. I’m supposed to wear myself out for the team? What team? No, no, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna look out for myself and I’m gonn get mine.
Bertier: See man, that’s the worst attitude I ever heard. Big Ju: Attitude reflects leadership, captain.